Monday, May 31, 2010

Dad's Banana Bread

~ Banana Nostalgia ~

Most of the handwritten recipe cards in my recipe box say "From the kitchen of Mom."  This recipe, however, is from my dad.  I have no idea where he got this recipe, and I'm not sure he remembers, either.  I can only surmise that it came from one of the few sources of media back in the day:  newspaper, magazine, or television.  This is not to say that we did not have other informational resources, as the background of this photo clearly shows the strong, yet silent full set of World Book Encyclopedia.

Chances are Dad did not find his famous banana bread recipe hiding amongst these pages; it's merely proof that we were either A) way above the curve on educational material, B) sure-fire suckers for the door-to-door salesmen of our time, or C) both A and B.  Besides, what's not to love about this photo of me and my childhood best friend, Tiffani?  From the carpet to the orange sofa to the console tv to the hint of a macrame plant hanger, what about this doesn't scream '70s?

One day during this era, the most wonderfully moist and full-of-banana-flavor loaf of bread appeared in our kitchen.  Much like the skeptical stare I gave my Pappap when he said he baked those pies in the foil pans, I stared at my dad when he said he baked this bread.  The difference was that Dad actually had a recipe to back his claim, and the same succulent loaves continued to appear where bananas that were too disgusting to eat once occupied real estate on the kitchen counter.

Dad says that the darker the banana, the better it is for the bread.  Take a look at these beauties.  They are just about perfect for banana bread, but a few extra days of darkening wouldn't hurt them, either.

HotDog used to pitch our bananas when they looked like this.  HotDog hates wasted food and, just like my dad, said he was going to start making bread with our old bananas.  I told him about Dad's one-bowl wonder.  Now I get the same old-bananas-magically-turn-to-fabulous-baked-goods phenomena as I did in my youth.  As HotDog began setting out ingredients yesterday, I grabbed my camera.

Keep in mind that we only had three yucky bananas on hand yesterday.  Dad and his friend, Sweet Tooth, somehow always made sure we had six so he could double the recipe.  Start with a larger bowl, grease two pans instead of one, and double up!

Dad's Banana Bread
3 bananas, peeled and mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
**optional**  1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, semi-sweet chocolate chips (be creative here)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together bananas, sugar, butter, and eggs in a medium-size bowl.  A fork or wooden spoon or any ol' utensil deemed suitable will do.  Notice here how HotDog likes to mash the bananas and mix the ingredients all in one step.  It makes for a little lumpier batter, but the end result is no less drool-worthy.

Sprinkle and stir in dry ingredients one at a time to avoid clumps.  No one likes a baking soda morsel surprise!

Fold in your 1/2 cup of optional, creative ingredients if you like.

Grease a standard 9"x5" loaf pan.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 1 hour.

Let cool for a bit until the loaf can be handled, loosen edges from pan with a knife, and place on a plate for a nice presentation.  Otherwise, just cut and serve slices o' heaven right from the pan.


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